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Why local lobster may be hard to find in Mass. right now

Ethel's lobster roll at the new Row 34 in Cambridge's Kendall Square. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Ethel's lobster roll at the new Row 34 in Cambridge's Kendall Square. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's daily morning newsletter, WBUR Today. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here

As yesterday’s smokey haze from Canadian wildfires clears up, get ready for temperatures to zoom back up into the 80s over the next three days. Tomorrow and Friday may even crack 90 degrees.

It’s perfect weather for a lobster roll. But this season, some seafood aficionados may find the iconic summertime treat lacking in local flavor.

Do you know where your lobster roll came from? For the next few months, it probably won’t be a crustacean that was crawling around our own coast. WBUR’s Yasmin Amer reports there’s less local catch on the market right now, meaning most lobster will be imported.

  • Why it matters: For consumers, the situation means a “fresh” lobster roll may be hard to come by until around July. Until then, it will mostly be frozen, processed lobster meat imported from Canada, according to Beth Casoni, the head of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association.
  • The reason for the shortage: Local lobstermen are coming off a three-month fishing ban in large swaths of water off Massachusetts, which was imposed to protect endangered right whales that were in the area. Casoni told Amer the timing of the ban made it more like a “five-month closure.” That’s because high seas have largely prevented lobstermen from bringing their catch ashore since the ban lifted on May 8. And in June, lobsters begin their molting season and are not out and about in the water.
  • Don’t blame the whales for the hole in your wallet. Casoni says imported lobster rolls actually cost about the same price as fresh local stuff (around $20 to $40 depending on the size). According to Maine Public, pandemic-era consumer habits are the main reason $30 lobster rolls have become commonplace.
  • Rough seas ahead: High demand is good for local lobstermen, but the industry sees other big challenges on the horizon — from warming waters to the loss of sustainability certifications to federal rules to protect right whales.
  • Willing to go the extra mile for fresh? This website shows where you can purchase locally harvested lobster in Massachusetts.

Heads up, Airbnb hosts: Today is the last day that Airbnb hosts in Massachusetts can sign up for a new pilot program offering $2,000 for heat pump installations, among other home energy efficiency upgrades. Airbnb is also offering $500 for air sealing and insulation.

Massachusetts is in line to get $110 million from the Purdue Pharma-Sackler bankruptcy deal, after a federal appeals court in New York cleared the way for the nationwide agreement yesterday.

  • Where will the money go? Massachusetts created a trust fund for opioid settlement payments, which will funnel the money toward efforts to address the drug overdose crisis.
  • Zoom in: Read this piece from WBUR’s Martha Bebinger for a closer look at the types of programs the money supports.

People who want to run for Boston City Council now officially have more time to file their nomination papers. Gov. Maura Healey signed a home rule petition Tuesday allowing for a one-time extension of the filing deadline, after a federal judge forced Boston to scramble to redraw its new City Council district map. The new deadline is June 23.

Heads up: The Ted Williams Tunnel will be closed again tonight from midnight until 5 a.m. for paving work. Plan accordingly if you have any late-night or early-morning airport trips ahead.

P.S.— If the warm weather has you planning a trip to the beach, make sure to sign up for our just-relaunched seasonal newsletter Beach Books. Our weekly summer reading recommendations will hit inboxes this afternoon — and you can check out all of last year’s book recommendations right here.


Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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